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Random thoughts, ideas and experiences

Software Engineering and the Common Cold

Just as I was blowing my nose for the nth time, after having picked up yet another cold, I had a revelation: the common cold is the same as the unavoidable pains associated with Software Engineering. Let me explain.

Fred Brooks wrote The Mythical Man Month over 35 years ago where he spoke about the problems associated with large scale software development. A decade later, he wrote an essay (which later became a chapter in the book) about how there’s No Silver Bullet that will cure an essential subset of that pain because of software’s inherent complexity. The book is awesome and per Brooks himself, “everybody quotes it, some people read it, and a few people go by it.

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Filed under: Programming

AutoHotKey script for PasteFire

PasteFire is a really cool service to send information from your desktop to your iPhone really quickly. I found it courtesy LifeHacker. A very simple concept but implemented very well, and all for a great price of free. They have a web form, a bookmarklet  and a standalone application for Windows that can be used on the desktop side.

Here’s a really simple AutoHotKey script that does the same thing as requested by AppsFire. If you are like me and have a running AutoHotKey instance all the time, you can add this snippet to your code and integrate PasteFire to your workflow. You will need a Curl executable that supports SSL.

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Filed under: Programming

Py2Exe: Zlib not available

Recently, I released ClearAxis, a simple application that allows you to configure the Araxis Merge utility as the default diff tool within Rational ClearCase. The ClearCase diff tool is rather primitive and could really use some replacing.

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Filed under: Programming

wxPython Widgets – Part II

So here’s part II of wxPython Widgets. Let’s continue where we left off.

Button

Buttons don’t need much of an introduction. They are everywhere and do a simple task on click. In AppSnap, I have two buttons, one for install and one for uninstall. So let’s create a button.

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Filed under: Programming

wxPython Widgets – Part I

I’m currently working on AppSnap, a Windows application which simplifies software installation. It originally started out as a console application but has since graduated into being GUI based as well. More on it when it gets released in a few days. For now, I’d like to spend some time talking about a few wxPython widgets that I use in AppSnap. wxPython has some decent documentation but it is still hard to figure out all aspects of a widget for a beginner. So here’s a few common widgets and their usage. I’ve also linked to the relevant pages in the wxPython API where appropriate so as to make further investigations easier.

Note that some of the examples below have been created to fit into the context of this post. AppSnap is laid out quite differently and I’ll go over that in a separate post.

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Filed under: Programming

Where’s Ruby and Rails?

There is a lot of attention being given to PHP, Perl and Python on this blog. Where’s Ruby? And where’s Ruby on Rails? Over the few past years, I’ve realized the importance of having the right tools for the job. That’s why I use Perl for scripting and PHP for the web. It’s not like I’ve not given Ruby and Rails a try. In todays market, you can’t afford to be stuck with the wrong tools. You have to keep up with the times in order to succeed. I’ve kept my eyes open ever since. Regardless, there has been too much activity on the web surrounding the whole Ruby on Rails phenomenon for me to not have noticed anyway.

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Filed under: Programming

PHP is Easy

Among Perl, PHP and Python, I have the most experience with PHP. Considering my fascination for web-based applications, it was a very appealing replacement for the C based web apps that I was writing. My background in C led me to write everything in C, regardless of whether it was appropriate or not. PHP was very easy to pick up because of its C like syntax and API. I’ve not written much C after that – well, for web apps at least.

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Filed under: Programming

Why Perl, PHP and Python

Off late, I’ve been meddling a lot with Perl, PHP and Python. The next few posts are going to revolve around these three programming languages. I don’t plan on getting too technical as I’d just like to share my experiences with them. Let’s start out with a short list of advantages.

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Filed under: Programming

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